8 More K-pop Composers and Producers You Should Know
Image above: Will Simms with SHINee’s Jonghyun
Last year we created a list of 12 composers and producers every K-pop fan should know that a lot of people took interest in. Although it contained many of the biggest hitters on the K-pop scene, there were many other prolific hit makers who weren’t included in the list. Given the huge number of talented songmakers who create music for idol groups, we thought it’s about time we gave a few more a little limelight. So here are eight more talented composers and producers who are no doubt behind many of your favourite K-pop songs.
Will Simms is an accomplished French-born composer based in London who has a pretty stellar record of producing K-pop hits – particularly for SM Entertainment. Two of the biggest tracks he worked on are Girls’ Generation’s I Got a Boy and EXO’s Wolf. He’s also composed for some smaller idol groups like BESTie’s Pit-a-Pat and WA$$UP’s Shut Up U. K-pop is where Simms has had some of his biggest hits but he actually works across 3 continents having written for Japanese, European and American artists.
Other representative tracks: Girls’ Generation – I Got A Boy, Red Velvet – Happiness
Black Eyed Pilseung
Black Eyed Pilseung, or Black Eyed Victory as it translates into English, is a composition and production duo made up of Rado and Choi Kyusung. Although the duo has only emerged as a big player on the scene recently, the songwriters themselves are far from being newcomers as both have been longterm Shinsadong Tiger collaborators with Rado having worked on hit tracks like 4Minute’s Volume Up, Apink’s HUSH and Trouble Maker’s Trouble Maker and Now while Choi Kyu-seong was involved in productions like T-ara’s Roly-Poly, Hyuna’s Bubble Pop, and Beast’s Fiction. Since their first big hit as Black Eyed Pilseung last year, Sistar’s Touch My Body, they’ve been producing hit tracks together continuously and show no signs of slowing down.
Other representative tracks: SISTAR – Touch My Body, Teen Top – Missing, Hyorin & Jooyeong – Erase, Hyunseung – Ma First
Star Track (Kang Ji-won and Kim Ki-bum)
Kang Ji-won and Kim Ki-bum are a producing duo who until recently produced essentially all of Secret and B.A.P’s big hits. With B.A.P splitting from their company and Secret’s group and solo singles increasingly going to other writers like Duble Sidekick this is not necessarily true any more but they are still producing tracks for fellow TS Entertainment artist Sonamoo and others under the new producing name Star Track.
Other representative tracks: Secret – Shy Boy, Secret – Poison, Girl’s Day – Oh! My God
Ryan S. Jhun
Ryan S. Jhun is the creative director of Marcan Entertainment, a music publishing company based in Seoul and New York. He’s been composing and producing tracks for idol groups since 2009. One of his first big hits was Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for Lee Hyori shortly followed by Lucifer for SHINee. Jhun is a serial collaborator having worked on tracks for many different groups including UKISS, 15& and f(x) with various composers and producers. Most recently he teamed with British producing team London Noise on the fantastic house-influenced View for SHINee.
Other representative tracks: 15& – Somebody, SHINee – Lucifer, Lee Hyori – Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Seo Yong-bae and Iggy
Seo Yong-bae is another composer and producer who has worked with anyone and everyone but by far the most distinctive collaborations have been with Iggy. They’re the ones responsible for developing Orange Caramel’s sound from plain cheesy to sophisticatedly quirky with tracks like Lipstick, Catallena and My Copycat. Separately they’ve worked on music for a huge number of successful artists from idols like B1A4 and MBLAQ to ballad singers like Insooni and K.Will.
Other representative tracks: Ailee – Heaven, MBLAQ – Like A Man, Hello Venus – Would You Like Some Tea?
When Seo Yong-bae isn’t working with Iggy he’s quite often working with Cube Entertainment’s very successful in-house producer Seo Jae-woo. Seo Jae-woo is also a regular collaborator of industry veteran Kim Do-hoon having worked on hits like Ailee’s Don’t Touch Me and the production for SISTAR’s Give It To Me. Recently he has been working with emerging hit-maker Bick Sancho on tracks for 4MINUTE as well as Hyuna’s solo work.
Other representative tracks: Hyuna – RED, BTOB – WOW, Dal Shabet – Have, Don’t Have
Choi Pil-kang, known professionally as PK, is one of YG Entertainment’s in-house composers and producers. He started out in the music business with a short lived singing career as part of the RnB group iM before. He then went into producing tracks for underground hip hop artists before going to work for YG. One of his first big hits was BIGBANG’s Tonight and he has since worked with various YG artists as well as a few other idols. PK is often involved in the slower YG productions like Epik High’s Spoiler and Winner’s Empty but he does also work on its poppier, more upbeat productions, most recently working on I’m Different for Hi Suhyun with American songwriter Bekuh Boom.
Other representative tracks: 2NE1 – It Has To Be You, Hi Suhyun – I’m Different, BIGBANG – Monster
Rounding off our list, here is another of YG’s main producers Choice37 who describes himself on social media as a “Producer/Songwriter/DJ/Master Chef”. He’s originally from California and started out a rapper releasing his own album in 2007 before moving to Korea to get involved in the music industry. He tends to produce a lot of their more explicitly hip hop work – he’s done a lot of producing for G-Dragon and TOP’s solo work and also for Epik High. He does also stray over onto the pop side though having produced tracks like Lee Hi’s 1,2,3,4 and 2NE1’s Falling in Love.
Other representative tracks: G-Dragon – One Of A Kind, Masta Wu – Come Here, Epik High – Happen Ending
Even with us now at twenty, this is not at all a comprehensive list of all the talented music makers working in K-pop. As the industry gets bigger, more and more are getting involved in the scene from all over the world. Composers and producers often don’t get the credit they deserve so if you have any other favourites you think deserve more credit, let us know. Maybe we’ll make another list some time in the future.